Former Australian international cricketer Matthew Hayden has said he “truly dodged a bullet” after suffering neck injuries while surfing in Queensland.
The 46-year-old, who retired in 2009, was on a family holiday in Queensland when he fractured a vertebrae in his spine and also tore ligaments in his neck, as well as suffering a bloodied forehead.
He had been surfing with his son Josh off Stradbroke Island on Friday when he was knocked off his board by a wave, landing on his head.
In an Instagram post on Sunday night, accompanied by a picture of him in a neck brace, he wrote: “Last attention seeking post, I promise. Just wanted to say a big thank you to all our mates on Straddie who have been so supportive. Especially Ben & Sue Kelley for the fast diagnosis with MRI, CT scan. Fractured C6, torn C5,C4 ligaments safe to say I truly have dodged a bullet. Thank you everyone. On the road to recovery.”
In a post on Saturday alongside a picture showing abrasions on his forehead, he wrote: “Took on Straddie back bank yesterday with @josh_hayden28 and lost!!! Game over for a few days.”
Hayden explained what happened to the Courier Mail newspaper.
“It was an hour into the session and we had had half dozen waves together and I got this one right-handed wave which I sort of ducked under and that is pretty much all I can remember,” he said.
“I wasn’t knocked out. I was speared into the top of the sandbank on to the top of my head. Then it twisted my head with my own weight and the weight of the wave. I heard this god almighty click in my neck. I did not get knocked out but I sort of came to and rolled up on my back,” he added.
Hayden, an avid surfer and sailor, was on a boat that capsized during a fishing trip in 2000.
He and two companions, including former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds, eventually swam a kilometre to shore.
Hayden played 273 internationals for Australia between 1994 and 2008, scoring just over 15,000 runs.
In 2003 he made a then-record Test match high score of 380 against Zimbabwe.